Feeds

Last.fm unveils 'free global jukebox'

Three plays, then subscribe

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

London-based music site Last.fm announced today that it has convinced all four major record labels to let its users listen to their catalogues on demand and for free, worldwide. There's a catch, though - listeners are limited to three plays of a particular song. Last.fm will offer a new subscription package for what it calls "unlimited access".

Simpler arrangements with licensing syndicates CD Baby, IODA and others mean Last.fm has access to songs from 150,000 indie labels too.

It's the first to achieve the feat, and pours salt on the wounds of closest rival Pandora, which cut off international listeners earlier this month. It blamed its inability to cut reasonable licensing deals.

Last.fm was adopted by US media conglomerate CBS for $280m last year. Having a dad with radio 1.0 muscle has clearly done wonders for its negotiating clout.

Users in the UK, US and Germany have immediate access to the new service, with the rest of the world on board in "the coming months".

Universal, Sony BMG, EMI and Warner haven't quite handed over the keys to the kingdom, however. Limits on the licenses mean Last.fm's new jukebox can only allow each track to be streamed to a site member three times before asking them to cough up for a download via affiliate links to iTunes, Amazon and 7digital. After that the song won't be available for streaming, a spokesman said.

To begin with, the majors are putting up 3.5 million songs between them, but not their entire catalogues. Led Zeppelin and The Beatles remain elusive to legal digital music fans, for example.

It'll all be funded by targeted banner ads on the Last.fm website. Attempts to offer free downloads with audio ads before the song by Peter Gabriel's We7 have failed to make a significant impact so far.

Also today, the site announced a new royalty scheme for unsigned acts. Struggling artists will be able to upload their groundbreaking work to Last.fm's servers and pocket a fraction of a penny direct each time it's streamed. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.